Two second half goals by John Akinde mean County leave The Hive empty handed...
Manager John Sheridan made three changes going to clash at the Hive Stadium, with Danny Holmes, Scott Boden and Janoi Donacien making returns to the starting XI for the Boxing Day fixture.
The Exiles were subject to a great deal of early pressure from the hosts and had ‘keeper Joe Day to thank for keeping the scores level. Luke Gambin forced Day into making a fine save from twenty-five yards, with the County shot stopper pushing his effort over the crossbar, in what was a fine reaction save.
Day was forced into action just minutes later, when a long-ball forward was held up in the windy conditions and broke to Aaron McLean inside the area. The striker fired a volley towards goal that Day managed to tip around the post.
County’s first opportunity on goal came through a quick thrown-in taken on right by Danny Holmes that found Tommy O’Sullivan unmarked inside the area. The midfielder controlled the bouncing ball and hit a powerful volley into the side netting from a very narrow angle.
The Exiles had a golden opportunity to open the scoring just after the half hour mark, when a loose throw by Bees ‘keeper Ian Lawlor was intercepted by Tommy O’Sullivan, who fired a dangerous cross into the area that found Scott Boden, who scooped an effort over the crossbar from six-yards out.
Just before the break Medy Elito directed a long-range curling effort towards the far-post that drifted narrowly wide of the goal and the score remained goalless going into half-time.
It was eight minutes into the second half that the deadlock was broken, when Medy Elito was deemed to be the last man when conceding a penalty and was show a straight red card for the foul inside the area. John Akinde stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner, after sending Joe Day the wrong way.
County had a chance to reply almost instantly, with Lenell John-Lewis snatching onto a slack clearance by goalkeeper Ian Lawlor and attempting a chipped effort on goal that didn’t dip enough to creep under the crossbar.
Just after the hour mark County were denied a eqauliser by a fantastic diving save from Lawlor, who at full stretch managed to push a glanced Scott Boden header away from danger, after the strikers headed looked destined to end up in the back of the net.
County introduced Aaron Collins to boost their options in attack, but the ten men struggled to carve out any real opportunities in the closing fifteen minutes.
The hosts doubled their lead in the last minute of normal time, with Janoi Donacien and Joe Day getting caught in a horrible mix up and John Akinde was on hand to slot the ball into the empty net.
FULL TIME: BARNET 2 – 0 NEWPORT COUNTY